Workington Town show promotion potential in tough Cumbrian derby
Last updated at 13:37, Monday, 30 January 2012
Barrow Raiders 28 Workington Town 28: Workington Town finished their pre-season preparations with a tough run-out against Barrow Raiders in Mike Whitehead’s testimonial at Craven Park.
Video highlights: Mike Whitehead testimonial
The former Barrow man led his team out against the club where he played 265 games and took them into a real war of attrition.
Stephen Dawes, Brett Carter and Jarrad Stack all took heavy blows in the 80 minutes, with Dawes helped from the field after an unseen incident with former Town men Ruairi McGoff and Lee Dutton in a first half tackle.
Despite being in the wars, Workington matched their hosts and did more than enough to suggest the battles between these two sides this season – and there will be at least three more in league and cup – could be between two sides pushing for promotion.
Whitehead, who could not round off his afternoon in the spotlight with a try as Stack (2), Brett Phillips, Kris Coward and Carl Forber – especially impressive on his return – crossed the line for the visitors.
But the 33-year-old Walneyite, playing his testimonial in his home town had a fine afternoon all the same, going through his fair share of work in defence and pushing on in attack.
“I was quite happy with the draw,” Whitehead said. “We lost a lot of players during the game and it was nice not to get beat – it means I can go out tonight and enjoy it, rather than having the mickey taken out of me.
“We definitely wanted a competitive game. At the end of the day, it’s a friendly for us and we need to use it to kick on towards the league and the Northern Rail Cup.
“We preferred that the game was competitive and any game with Barrow always is.
He added: “I really enjoyed it. Plenty of people turned up, some of the old boys gave me a bit of a battering, but it was a good do.
“It was a nice thing to be able to take the boys out there and to do it in front of crowd I played in front of for 10 years. It was special and I enjoyed that too.”
Stack struck twice in the early running to pull Town back to level pegging after Marc Dixon and Dan Toal scored for Raiders.
The Australian’s first came off the back of a Mark Shackley offload, the second as he chased a Dan Rooney kick down the left flank all the way to the line.
Phillips gave Town a brief lead after Jamie Thackray bulldozed through his old team-mates, but Chris Larkin, James Nixon, Scott Kaighan and Andy Litherland scored for the home side in a 20-minute spell around half-time to put them 28-16 up.
Former Town man Kaighan’s was of particular embarrassment to his good friend Carter, the Workington full-back gifting him a score with a loose interception pass that allowed him to run in from his own 30-metre line.
The visitors recovered to claim a share of the spoils as Kris Coward swan-dived over near the posts as he collected a bouncing kick and Forber rounded off a superb personal display with a try 10 minutes from the end, running through a tiring defence from 10 yards out.
Workington Town: Brett Carter, Stephen Dawes, Dan Rooney, John Patrick, John Dawes, Carl Forber, Mark Bainbridge, Jamie Thackray, Darren King, Kris Coward, Mike Whitehead, Jarrad Stack, Brett Phillips. Substitutes: Mark Shackley, Rick Farrar, Jack Gaskill, Peter Dobson, James Robinson, Ryan McDonald
Barrow: First half: Andy Ballard, James Nixon, Chris Larkin, Aaron Low, Marc Dixon, Darren Holt, Liam Campbell, Andrew Dawson, James Dandy, Jamie Butler, Liam Harrison, Andy Bracek, Dan Toal. Second Half: Lee Haney, James Nixon, James Finch, Andy Litherland, Mike Backhouse, Liam Finch, Scott Kaighan, Jamie Butler, Brad Marwood, Lee Dutton, James Gordon, Martin Ostler, Barry Pugh. Sbstitutes (all used): Ruairi McGoff, Mike Botes, Andries Venter
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow (St Helens)
First published at 11:31, Monday, 30 January 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk